Saturday, 13 December 2014

10 great ideas for outdoor creative play spaces

Creative play is super important in the development of young people.  It encourages problem solving and creative thinking which are of paramount importance in adult life.  Being outdoors, and able to connect with the world around them is also very important.

I was delighted with the pre-school that my children attended in Scotland.  They were in the process of redesigning their outdoor space for year-round use.  The space now included lots of creative scope, loose parts, mud and water set out in a purposeful and inviting way.  The space was just asking to be played in, and the children loved it.

Here then, are ten brilliant outdoor creative play spaces for your delectation and inspiration:
1) From

Mud kitchen1
2) from

TeePee in Virtues Garden
3) Living teepee from 
Creating an Outdoor Learning Space (2)
4) outdoor small world play from
outdoor playhouse
5) a playhouse from 

6) outdoor puppet theatre from
Music Station Outdoors made from Recycled Materials
7) Recycled outdoor music station from
8) water play wall from

9) my own picture.  These poetry stones were at the National Trust Centre in Aberdaron
10) Outdoor art area from

1) From - just set out some natural loose parts, and let the children's imaginations do the rest.

2) From  A mud kitchen doesn't have to be complicated, and it can get messy... but it encourages imaginative and tactile creative play.

3)  This living teepee from is gorgeous with a combination of beans, sweetpeas and nasturtiums scrambling all over, some painted stepping stones and some woodchips to sit on.  What a great place to play!

4)  Small world play doesn't have to be indoors, as this picture from illustrates.  Grass, shrubs and sand provide everything you could need for dinosaurs, lions and elephants etc.  Road ways and railways can weave around the garden, concrete steps become car parks.  Okay, so you may lose the odd dinosaur or car, but that's just treasure to discover on another occasion!

5) Playhouses come in many shapes and sizes.  If you buy one off the shelf that's fine, but allowing the kids to use their creativity and customise it means it has a meaningful place in their play, and building your own, like this one from, is even better.

6) I adore this outdoor puppet theatre made from an old pallet at

7) Recycled outdoor music station from

8) I love this water play wall from  There are some other ideas on their site too, to encourage exploring with water.  I also think it's important to have some standing water to play with and explore floating and sinking, as well as pouring and flow.

9) Poetry stones are a great idea.  You basically write a whole load of interesting words on pebbles, and leave them to the children to arrange as they see fit.

10) This outdoor art area from is a lovely idea.  Any situation where art materials are available will encourage children to use them creatively.  Whether it's a pot of chalks for drawing on paving slabs and fences; paper and pens; weaving materials; flower press or anything else.

I'm keen to include as many of these ideas as possible in the garden when we buy our next house (hopefully in the next few months!)...

What creative outdoor space ideas do you have?  Please share in the comments section.

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